GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — Gov. John Kitzhaber and representatives of the Obama administration have signed a breakthrough agreement for sharing scarce water in the Upper Klamath Basin, where the use of surface water for irrigation was shut off to ranchers last summer after the Klamath Tribes exercised newly awarded water rights to protect fish.
The governor and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Michael L. Conner signed the agreement in principle Wednesday in Klamath Falls. They joined ranchers and the Klamath Tribes in endorsing key elements of future legislation to reduce the likelihood of shutting off irrigation to protect fish.
The deal was put together by a task force named last June by Sen. Ron Wyden and others.
Wyden issued a statement praising task force members for giving up their individual interests in the name of a greater good.